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Now here is the good news: The explosive chemical inserted into the package was PETN, Pentaerythritol tetranitrate. PETN was first synthesized in 1891, was patented in Germany in 1912, and has been used since World War I. PETN has been around for a long time, in other words—and it still isn't that easy for would-be terrorists to manipulate. PETN was the explosive that the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, failed to set off in 2001. PETN was also the explosive that the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, failed to set off last Christmas. These latest bombs may also have failed: They seem t